As we move into our 2nd performing venue of this season, many things are swimming through my mind:
Will it rain tomorrow? (Yes, is the answer. The forecast indicates 100% chance of rain). I will hold out hope. And alter things as necessary when tomorrow comes and decisions need to be made.
Will we get the audiences we are hoping for at our indoor performances at the Royall Tyler Theatre this weekend? (?, This remains a question).
Will I manage to pull off looking good for my upcoming curtain speeches? I don’t mean with what I am saying, but rather, you know, will I look GOOD? As in hair, make-up, outfit. Keep in mind that in previous seasons I have barely managed to get out of my work clothes before needing to throw a dress onto my sweaty body and run onstage to welcome our audience.
In 2005, our inaugural season, I was backstage navigating a dressing room made of a tent from the 1950’s that my father had given us to use (which he had bought used at some point in my childhood). It smelled like the 1950’s, as in “I have been around since the 1950’s, improperly stored in someone’s garage.” In 2006, we had so much mud backstage that we had to place planking all through the woods for the actors to walk on (no easy feat). In 2008, there was an ant infestation in the sand we had imported for the set. In 2010, the bleachers in our audience were infested with bees. BEES! An issue that did not get eradicated until a mere two hours before the opening night audience arrived. In 2012, when we did The Tempest, we had a tempest of rain, dressing room tents that almost blew away (with actors in them) and had to cancel two shows. In 2013 we navigated the land of performing in a city park, and had to battle the musical styling of the Black Crowes who were performing across the lake and whose music could be heard very clearly on our performance site.
But through it all, we did Shakespeare, a gift to be able to do. And had fun. And learned more and more with each passing year. And made friends, and created a theatre family. So, today as I sat in the audience area of our 2nd venue, the beautiful Shelburne Museum, the following things were not lost on me: The space was quiet. There is lush grass in our playing area for the actors to roll around in. A gorgeous landmark building surrounding the performance site that embraced and enhanced and lifted up our creative vision. A (substantial) dressing room tent that had been provided and set up for us by the museum. Lovely and helpful museum staff was around to assist us. We have come a long way. These things seem simple but to John and I they are monumental. And a tribute to keeping the faith. Because, wow, there have been SO MANY times over this past 9 years where we almost threw in the towel. Thinking, WHAT ARE WE DOING? The sacrifices (personally, financially, professionally, not to mention time with our son) were overwhelming to us. But, and here is the biggest thing…. the consistent motivator through all the years has been THE ARTISTS WE WORK WITH, the amazing artists who dedicate themselves to the company for 5/6 weeks every summer. Talented, inspiring, hard working, generous, giving (blood sweat and tears kind of giving- see above description of former seasons). This truly is what keeps John and I afloat. This year is no exception. Our first summer we were a group of 12- designers, cast and crew. This year we are a team of 32. And it is quite a group. Smiles and open hearts. Dedication that goes above and beyond. We are lucky to do what we do. It’s hard. But I hope if we just keep saying yes, that it’s full potential will be realized. When our five year old, who knows that mommy and daddy are “at Shakespeare”, asks us “Did you build Shakespeare? Did you build it with bricks and wood?” We attempt to explain it in some historical frame. And then we just say
“ Yes, we built it. Mommy and Daddy built something.”
Posted by Jena Necrason – Artistic Director